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Local pastor welcomes migrants at Holding Institute

A local pastor and a migrant spoke out about the surge and the dangerous journey thousands of migrants make to reach the “American dream.”
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Reports of migrant apprehensions are on the rise and while some are calling it a crisis, migrants are finding refuge here at home at local shelters.

A local pastor and a migrant spoke out about the surge and the dangerous journey thousands of migrants make to reach the “American dream.”

For about 7 years now, the Holding Institute is giving shelter to migrants knocking at their door.

They hope to get some relief after a long and dangerous journey.

For Jose, a dangerous journey that took more than a month to reach is over.

“I’ve already lost track of what day it is since it’s been more than 40 days since I left my house.”

Jose left Honduras wanting to buy land in the United States to build a home for his family, leaving behind his wife.

He crossed the Rio Grande while holding his 3-year-old daughter.

“It was dangerous, but I had to do it for her.”

Border Patrol agents found him along the riverbanks shortly after.

He’s now staying at the Holding Institute, a community center that takes in asylum seekers.

Helping migrants like Jose is Pastor Mike Smith, who runs the center.

Despite debates about a “migrant crisis,” Pastor Mike believes all people should be helped.

“How are you going to let a family with children sleep outside in the middle of the night?” There’s no way. We have a responsibility to care for our neighbors, these are our neighbors today.”

Stories like Jose’s keep him going.

“Christ, reveal to me daily in the faces of the people that we serve. That’s what keeps me going, seeing every day a new face. Somebody that’s hungry, somebody that’s tired.”

Jose says he’s waiting to unite with some family members in Virginia.

He says being at the Holding Institute makes him feels safe like he’s at home now.

Pastor Mike says the Holding Institute welcomes in about 50 asylum seekers daily and believes this is only the beginning.

Just two years ago they were receiving over 100 every day.

The Holding Institute says all people are welcome to their shelter, including people with no homes.

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